791: The Marco Polo Network: Driving Innovation in Trade Finance

Mar 08, 2019
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On my daily tech podcast, I often talk about new solutions that leverage technology. But today, I wanted to explore the world of Blockchain Innovators in Trade Finance. TradeIX is building the world’s first open platform powered by blockchain and distributed ledger technology. The best way to describe TradeIX is as a ‘Network of Networks’ for global trade finance. It is the most connected and secured platform infrastructure for banks, asset managers, B2B networks and value-added service providers.

TradeIX and R3 also launched Project Marco Polo as a joint undertaking together with over a dozen of the world’s foremost financial institutions active in Trade Finance including BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, ING, and Natwest. Usually, I would invite TradeIX onto this podcast to talk about how they are transforming trade finance through technology. But I wanted to try something different. I wanted to get companies based all over the world onto one call and see if we can show how they are all collaborating with each other to reshape trade finance all by leveraging technology.

Today’s Guests

Nicole Lefevre is an associate at R3 which is an enterprise blockchain software firm working with a broad ecosystem of more than 200 members and partners across multiple industries from both the private and public sectors to develop on Corda, its open-source blockchain platform, and Corda Enterprise, a commercial version of Corda for enterprise usage.

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R3’s global team of over 180 professionals in 13 countries is supported by over 2,000 technology, financial, and legal experts drawn from its global member base.

Andrew Speers is the Director, Product, and Innovation at NatWest within the RBS group. Andrew has been working in the Financial Services industry for over 15 years. During this time he has held various positions with leading global banks in roles ranging from Sales to Product Development.

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As a member of RBS Group, within NatWest Trade & Working Capital Services team, Andrew also covers areas such as Blockchain / DLT, Emerging Technology, Digitisation, Fintech Partnership and identifying new and exciting opportunities to help the banks client base to grow and prosper.

Alain Verschueren is the Head of DLT trade & treasury solutions at BNP Paribas which is a leading bank in Europe with an international reach. It has a presence in 74 countries, with more than 192,000 employees, including more than 146,000 in Europe.

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The Group has key positions in its three main activities: Domestic Markets and International Financial Services (whose retail-banking networks and financial services are covered by Retail Banking & Services) and Corporate & Institutional Banking, which serves two client franchises: corporate clients and institutional investors

David Sutter is the Chief Strategy Officer at TradeIX and is an experienced Fintech entrepreneur and a blockchain/DLT expert. He was one of the first to foresee the benefits DLT could bring to financial services and in particular trade finance. Over the past years, he has helped pioneer and design the technology’s application for trade finance. He joined TradeIX in 2017 as Head of Platform Strategy to develop a roadmap for the trade and working capital finance platform and for the Marco Polo Network.

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David also devised an ambitious and ground-breaking vision for the Trade Finance Industry, for the Marco Polo Network and for TradeIX which fundamentally differentiates them from other players and networks in this field. As the Chief Strategy Officer, he will continue defining and designing the future of TradeIX and the Marco Polo Network.

We discuss how Marco Polo is providing cutting-edge open account trade solutions, robust suite of trade specific APIs, sophisticated rules engine, and open, standard core infrastructure. A secure, single source of truth for critical trade data including identities, purchase orders, invoices, shipping and logistics information, trade assets, financing activity, and credit risk is no longer a pipe dream, it’s a reality.

Useful Links

If you want to gather around a virtual campfire and have a chat or ask me a question, you can message me, leave a virtual voicemail or even buy your friendly podcast host a coffee.

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